The Cubs front office struck with a bold move this morning, acquiring LHP Jose Quintana from the crosstown White Sox for four minor leaguers: OF Eloy Jimenez, RHP Dylan Cease, INF Bryant Flete and 1B Matt Rose.
Quintana is a 28-year-old native of Colombia who was an All-Star in 2016. This season, Quintana is 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA over 18 starts. However, he has struck out 109 batters over 104.1 innings, which is a career-high strikeouts per nine ratio for him. That also comes with a slight uptick in walks and home runs allowed ratio. He also has been much better in June after a rough start to the year.
Beyond being a good pitcher, the 6’1”, 220 pound Quintana is also signed to a very team-friendly contract through the 2020 season. The Cubs will owe Quintana $8.85 million next year and they have two team options at $10.5 million for 2019 and $11.5 million for 2020. That the Cubs have Quintana under team control for three and a half years no doubt convinced the front office that he was worth the price that they paid for him.
And it was a very high price. Jimenez and Cease are the top two prospects in the Cubs system. Jimenez was ranked as the 5th-best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America’s recent midseason Top 100 prospect rankings and Cease was number 83. Jimenez, still only 20 years old, was the Cubs representative in the past two Futures Games and this year he is hitting .271/.351/.490 with 8 home runs in 42 games for High-A Myrtle Beach. Cease, 21, has a fastball that has been clocked at 100 mph and is 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 13 starts for low-A South Bend. He has struck out 74 in 51.2 innings so far.
The other two players going to the White Sox are not as highly-regarded, but neither one is just a throw-in, either. The 24-year-old Flete is having a strong season in Myrtle Beach, hitting .305/.355/.425. Defensively, the Venezuelan Flete has played second, short and third base. Rose was the Cubs 11th-round pick in 2015 and has shown terrific power with 14 home runs in only 65 games this summer, also with the Pelicans. He has only hit .227 with a .281 on-base percentage this year, however.
The Cubs got their cost-controlled starter, but at a pretty high price. It’s not what the Red Sox paid for Chris Sale, but it’s about all the Cubs had at the moment.
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